Telling Inspirational Stories through Photographs with Brian Kelly (#61)

Visual Storyteller Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly, a photographer and filmmaker based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, tells story through photos and video. He travels frequently, as he puts it, to wherever he needs to be. Seth Meyers, Whoopi Goldberg, Betty White, Eminem…. Brian’s portrait photography portfolio includes high-profile subjects. But it’s not all he does.

Brian’s passion is to shoot and communicate stories. A seasoned photographer and director, he has more than 20 years of experience on productions all over the country. Hybrid shoots are his specialty, where he and his create awesome video and print assets during the same production. This visual storyteller took time to explore the craft of storytelling. He started as a still photographer and has grown as a creator with technology advancements and encourages us to do the same – always grow and explore new ways to tell stories.

“I would leverage relationships with current clients and encourage them to try video. We still need high quality images. That hasn’t changed. What’s changed is that we take a hybrid approach to production… so alongside the photographs you’re creating video.” – Brian Kelly on evolving as a storyteller

Get them to fell and they will follow

You can make people feel bad or you can make them feel good. They can vehemently disagree with you or you can influence them to agree whole-heartedly. Either way, getting an audience to feel is vital when telling a story.

In this day and age, we’re all storytellers in some way and we need to build an audience. The best way to build that, according to Brian, is through emotional storytelling. Get an audience to feel, and they will follow.

“Everyone needs to build an audience, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. And you’re not going to build a very wide audience if you don’t make people feel things.” – Brian Kelly on the emotional connection of storytelling

It takes a lifetime to get there

Developing your craft never ends. It’s not a secret, it’s common sense. But sometimes we forget. Whether we’re just starting off as a storyteller or we’re a brand considering storytelling as a new strategy, it takes time to develop and grow. And when we feel like we’ve made it, it’s time to challenge ourselves and grow further.

In addition to growth, Brian practices humility and gratitude.

“I feel really lucky after 20 years to be doing this. I still feel really engaged with every project. I don’t care if it’s a big project or a small project… every engagement is truly new experience and a new opportunity to explore what I do.” – Brian Kelly reflecting on his success

Connect with Brian:

Remember to leave your rating and review if you enjoyed the show, and share this podcast with your friends, family and network. The Storytellers Network with Dan Moyle airs every Monday at 7 AM EST.

05 Brian Kelly Episode Artwork.jpg